Project: WorldWide acquires social marketing firm Affinitive

Project: WorldWide has acquiredAffinitive, a word-of-mouth and social media agency and Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer (PMD) that handles consumer assignments for brands such as Random House, E.&J. Gallo Winery, Major League Soccer and Ubisoft. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Founded in 2002 and headquartered in New York City, Affinitive provides social business solutions combining innovative consumer engagement strategies with proprietary technology, real-time monitoring and integration with clients’ existing enterprise systems to create a seamless platform for creating and executing integrated brand programs.

Over the course of a decade and more than 200 campaigns, Affinitive has created and managed online brand communities, customer insight/advisory panels, loyalty/rewards programs, social and mobile applications, digital promotions and much more. As a founding member of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, the group is recognized as an industry pioneer and a leader within the industry’s ongoing efforts to evolve social media marketing practices and standards.

“Affinitive is a natural fit for Project in that we share the same belief about how brands must adapt to spark two-way dialogue and actively participate in customer-driven conversations,” said Robert G. Vallee Jr., Chairman & CEO of Project: WorldWide. “Brands today seek to engage through more meaningful stories and experiences, and Affinitive will help advance our mission to do just that.”

USA, Auburn Hills, MI & New York, NY

LinkedIn acquires SlideShare

LinkedIn has acquired professional content sharing platform SlideShare for $119 million in cash and stock.

According to Audrey William, Head of ICT Research for Frost & Sullivan Australia & New Zealand, Social Media is gathering a lot of momentum in the business space and this is a very strategic acquisition for LinkedIn simply because it has always been a professional networking platform.

“Now that content can be shared, uploaded, viewed amongst liked minded individuals, LinkedIn will be the strongest social media network for professionals,” she continued.

LinkedIn, whose shares have more than doubled since its initial public offering in May 2011, said membership has increased to 161 million from 150 million in the fourth quarter. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Weiner is pushing mobile technology to woo more professionals to its subscription services and attract advertisers who want to reach the growing user base.

“The company has in recent years done quite a few amazing things to its portal including allowing for twitter feeds to be sent via LinkedIn and that itself has brought about a lot of discussion amongst professionals,” said William.

LinkedIn is in a very unique position at this juncture, as not many companies out there have such a model. LinkedIn is now starting to take away revenue from traditional recruitment and headhunting agencies that charge high fees for the recruitment of professionals.

William added, “In years to come it will be very common for companies to move away from such agencies and place advertisements through LinkedIn. Companies will be able to get information about candidates through their profiles, interactions, twitter feeds as well as forums they are on. That is a pretty attractive way for a HR manager or recruiter to identify candidates.”

LinkedIn’s model seeks revenue via various areas such as premium membership, recruitment fees and advertising. Frost & Sullivan expects this to continue and see LinkedIn grow their revenues effectively via these models.

“It will become an attractive platform for advertising and recruitment and will be the ‘Facebook’ of the professional networking world,” said William.

Jake Wengroff, Frost & Sullivan’s Global Director, Social Media Strategy & Research blogged his thoughts when the news broke saying, ‘the numbers are clear, 9 million presentations have been uploaded to SlideShare, and the site received 29 million unique visitors in March.  These numbers fit in nicely with LinkedIn’s 161 global members.  SlideShare has been an app available through the LinkedIn interface for quite some time.  Bringing the service in-house will only strengthen the alliance. LinkedIn is clearly on an acquisition streak — aiming to become a B2B or professional social network powerhouse — and injecting the principles of social business to every endpoint it touches.”

In late February, the company acquired Rapportive, a Gmail plugin that makes both consumer Gmail as well as enterprise Gmail via Google Apps or Google Apps for Business more social. Wengroff said, “The Rapportive and SlideShare acquisitions both make sense.  In a world of social CRM, in which professionals in any department inside an organization are mining social networks for signals, content and messages from their clients, prospects, partners, and employees, a repository of content and a socialized inbox clearly point to the future.”

USA, Mountain View, CA & Australia, Sydney

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Twitter acquires Posterous

Blogging platform Posterous has been acquired by Twitter. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Twitter released a statement saying that it will be bringing the Posterous team on board and continue to keep Posterous Spaces alive. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Posterous is backed by Y Combinator, Redpoint Ventures and Trinity Ventures, plus a group of angel investors. The business was founded by Sachin Agarwal  in 2005.

Posterous announcement:

The opportunities in front of Twitter are exciting, and we couldn’t be happier about bringing our team’s expertise to a product that reaches hundreds of millions of users around the globe. Plus, the people at Twitter are genuinely nice folks who share our vision for making sharing simpler.

Posterous Spaces will remain up and running without disruption. We’ll give users ample notice if we make any changes to the service. For users who would like to back up their content or move to another service, we’ll share clear instructions for doing so in the coming weeks.

You can find more information answers to other questions you may have here.

Finally, we’d like to offer thanks to all of our users, especially those who have been with Posterous since day one. The last four years have been an amazing journey. Your encouragement, praise and criticism have made us better.  Thanks for that. We look forward to building great things for you over at Twitter.

USA, San Francisco

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Are CNN about to buy Mashable?

It is being reported that CNN are in advanced talks to buy Mashable for up to $200M.

Mashable describes itself as the largest independent news source dedicated to covering digital culture, social media and technology. It stories are syndicated to publications including ABC News, CNN, Metro, USA Today and Yahoo! News.

Mashable was founded by Pete Cashmore in 2005 in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland, supposedly from his bedroom as “something to do without getting out of bed”. Mashable is now headquartered in New York City, with an office in San Francisco and has more than 40 staff across the United States, United Kingdom and in Eastern Europe.

Last August CNN bought Zite, a news app for the iPad that gives users a personalised magazine-like experience, for up to £16million.

Other reporting

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CNN acquires Zite Posted on September 5, 2011

USA, New York, NY & Scotland, Aberdeenshire

UTV Media plc to acquire Simply Zesty

Radio, Television, New Media and Publishing company UTV Media plc is to acquire Simply Zesty Limited. The initial consideration is £1.7 million, which is being satisfied from the Company’s existing banking facilities, with further tranches of deferred consideration totalling a maximum of approximately £5 million, payable depending upon Simply Zesty’s future trading performance. The initial consideration equates to four times the anticipated 2012 EBITDA.

UTV is acquiring the business from Simply Zesty’s shareholders, including the founders of the business, Niall Harbison and Lauren Fisher, and the independent market research company, SPA Future Thinking. Following completion the founders will continue to develop Simply Zesty as part of UTV’s New Media division. Simply Zesty’s clients include blue chip brands such as Sony, Vodafone, Volkswagen Group, News International and ebookers.com.

Simply Zesty was set up in 2009 and employs 22 staff at its Dublin offices and specialises in providing social media marketing services to assist businesses in creating innovative social media campaigns. Simply Zesty is also building its international presence, which now represents more than 15% of revenues and is growing strongly.

John McCann, Group Chief Executive, UTV Media plc said, “The acquisition of Simply Zesty is part of our strategy to create a diversified multi-media business. Simply Zesty is a very successful Irish business with an international presence in the fast-growing social media sector. This acquisition strengthens our existing New Media division and adds further impetus to our multi-media strategy.

UK, Northern Ireland, Belfast & Ireland, Dublin